Kabul

Afghan children play with plastic toy guns in Kabul on August 8, 2013. Civilian casualties in the Afghan war rose 23 percent in the first half of this year due to Taliban attacks and increased fighting between insurgents and government forces, the UN said last month. AFP PHOTO/ SHAH MaraiSHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images

Shah Marai/AFP

Children in Kabul play with plastic toy guns. Civilian casualties in the Afghan war rose 23 per cent in the first half of this year due to Taliban attacks and increased fighting between insurgents and government forces, the UN said last month 

An Afghan man prays to celebrate Eid al-Fitr and the end of the fasting month of Ramadan at the Shah-e Do Shamshira mosque in Kabul on August 8, 2013. Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Fitr this week, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan during which followers are required to abstain from food, drink and sex from dawn to dusk.

Shah Marai/AFP

An Afghan man prays to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, at the Shah-e Do Shamshira mosque in Kabul on Thursday

An Afghan woman waits to receive aid as she stands behind the door of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) during the month of Ramadan in Kabul...An Afghan woman waits to receive aid as she stands behind the door of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) during the month of Ramadan in Kabul August 1, 2013. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail (AFGHANISTAN - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Mohammad Ismail/Reuters

An Afghan woman waits to receive aid at the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries during the month of Ramadan in Kabul

Afghan vendors unload watermelons from a...Afghan vendors unload watermelons from a truck at a fruit market in Kabul on July 24, 2013, during the holy month of Ramadan. Throughout the month, devout Muslims must abstain from food and drink from dawn until sunset when they break the fast with the Iftar meal. AFP PHOTO/ SHAH MaraiSHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images

Shah Marai/AFP

Afghan vendors unload watermelons from a truck at a fruit market in Kabul on Wednesday during the holy month of Ramadan. Throughout the month, devout Muslims must abstain from food and drink from dawn until sunset when they break the fast with the Iftar meal. 

Boys read the Koran in a madrasa, or religious school, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in Kabul July 15, 2013.

Omar Sobhani/Reuters

Boys read the Koran in a madrasa, or religious school, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in Kabul on Monday

An Afghan policeman talks to a civilian standing behind a door near the site of a suicide attack in Kabul...An Afghan policeman talks to a civilian standing behind a door near the site of a suicide attack in Kabul July 2, 2013. Taliban insurgents including a suicide bomber in a truck killed six people in the attack on a foreign logistics and supply company in Kabul on Tuesday. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail (AFGHANISTAN - Tags: CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Mohammad Ismail/Reuters

An Afghan policeman on Tuesday talks to a civilian standing behind a door near the site of a suicide attack in Kabul. Taliban insurgents including a suicide bomber in a truck killed six people in the attack on a foreign logistics and supply company in the city. 

Pigeons fly outside Shah-Do Shamshira mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, July 1, 2013. (AP photo/Rahmat Gul)

Rahmat Gul/AP

Pigeons are startled outside Shah-Do Shamshira mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan on Monday. 

An Afghan security force stands guard as a ambulance arrive near entrance gate of the Presidential palace in Kabul

Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images

An Afghan security force stands guard as an ambulance arrives near the entrance gate of the presidential palace in Kabul on Tuesday after Taliban militants targeted the palace and the CIA office.

Returning Afghan refugees, who have recently arrived from Pakistan, wait during the registration process at a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) center on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday, June 20, 2013, as they prepare to return to their province after fleeing civil war and Taliban rule. World Refugee Day, a day initiated by the United Nations to raise awareness on the plight of refugees worldwide, is observed on June 20 every year.

Rahmat Gul/AP

After recently returning from Pakistan, Afghan refugees wait during the registration process at a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees center near Kabul, Afghanistan, as they prepare to go back to their province after fleeing civil war and Taliban rule. World Refugee Day, initiated by the United Nations to raise awareness on the plight of refugees worldwide, is observed on June 20 every year.

An Afghan family travels in the trunk of a car on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, June, 13, 2013.

Ahmad Jamshid/AP

An Afghan family travels in the boot of a car on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan on Thursday

Afghanistan economy and daily life

S.Sabawoon/EPA

Afghan girls working at a brick manufacturer with buckets of stones on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, on Tuesday.

Afghan security forces stand guard at the site of a suicide attack near Kabul military airport in Kabul on June 10, 2013. All seven militants who launched an attack on June 10 on Kabul airport died in the assault, Afghan police said, adding that no civilian and security force casualties had yet been reported. "There were seven assailants -- two (suicide bombers) died detonating themselves and five others were killed in fighting," Mohammad Ayoub Salangi, chief of Kabul police, told reporters.

Shah Marai/AFP

Afghan security forces stand guard at the site of a suicide attack near the Kabul military airport on Monday. All seven militants who launched the attack died in the assault, Afghan police said, adding that no civilian and security force casualties had been reported. ‘There were seven assailants – two [suicide bombers] died detonating themselves and five others were killed in fighting,’ Mohammad Ayoub Salangi, chief of Kabul police, told reporters.

An Afghan amputee practices walking with her prosthetic leg at one of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) hospitals for war victims and the disabled in Kabul June 5, 2013.  The Red Cross halted work across Afghanistan on June 6 to pay a one-day tribute to the guard killed outside its offices in Jalalabad city in an unprecedented militant attack on the aid organisation.

Shah Marai/AFP

An Afghan amputee practices walking with her prosthetic leg at one of the International Committee of the Red Cross hospitals for war victims and the disabled in Kabul. 

Smoke rises from the International Red Cross building after a gun battle between security forces and an insurgent, in Jalalabad east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 29, 2013. A senior Afghan official said security forces rescued seven foreigners working for the International Red Cross on Wednesday after a two-hour-long gun battle with an insurgent at a guest house in the eastern city of Jalalabad. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

Rahmat Gul/AP

Smoke rises from the International Red Cross building after a two-hour gun battle between security forces and an insurgent at a guest house in Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, on Wednesday. A senior Afghan official said security forces rescued seven foreigners working for the charity 

Afghan police take cover following a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, May 24, 2013. A suicide bomber struck in the heart of the Afghan capital on Friday, sending a plume of smoke billowing over Kabul and setting up a gun battle in the second major attack in the city in little over a week, police said. (AP Photo/Ahmad Jamshid)

Ahmad Jamshid/AP

Afghan police take cover following an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Friday. A suicide bomber struck in the heart of the Afghan capital sending smoke billowing over Kabul and setting up a gun battle in the second major attack in the city in little more than a week, police said 

A photographer (C) takes pictures as newly graduated Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers attend their graduation ceremony at the Kabul Military Training Centre (KMTC) in Kabul May 23, 2013.

Omar Sobhani/Reuters

A photographer takes pictures as newly graduated Afghan National Army soldiers attend their graduation ceremony at the Kabul Military Training Centre in Afghanistan on Thursday. 

Afghan girls play in Kabul...Afghan girls play in Kabul, May 20,

Mohammad Ismail/Reuters

Afghan girls play on a wire fence in Kabul, Afghanistan 

Afghan children fetch water from a streaming river on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 15, 2013. Many households are still without running water, therefore Afghans pick up their daily water from streams and rivers.

Anja Niedringhaus/AP

Afghan children fetch water from a river on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan. With many households still without running water, Afghans get their daily water from streams and rivers.

Afghan boys play with their kite on a hill overlooking Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, May 13, 2013. Banned during the Taliban regime, kite flying is once again the main recreational escape for Afghan boys and some men. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

Anja Niedringhaus/AP

Afghan boys play with their kite on a hill overlooking Kabul, Afghanistan. Kite flying was banned during the Taliban regime, but it is now once again the main recreational escape for Afghan boys. 

Afghan farmers collect raw opium as they work in a poppy field in Khogyani district of Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, May 10, 2013. Opium poppy cultivation has been increasing for a third year in a row and is heading for a record high, the U.N. said in a report. Poppy cultivation is also dramatically increasing in areas of the southern Taliban heartland, the report showed, especially in regions where thousands of U.S.-led coalition troops have been withdrawn or are in the process of departing. The report indicates that whatever international efforts have been made to wean local farmers off the crop have failed.

Rahmat Gul/AP

Afghan farmers collect raw opium as they work in a poppy field in Khogyani district of Jalalabad, east of Kabul in Afghanistan. Opium poppy cultivation has been increasing for a third year in a row and is heading for a record high, the UN said in a report. Poppy cultivation is also increasing in areas of the southern Taliban heartland, the report showed, especially in regions where thousands of US-led coalition troops have been withdrawn or are in the process of departing. The report indicates that whatever international efforts have been made to wean local farmers off the crop have failed.